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Improved usage of coated leathers by the mapping of sub-surface faults


The aim of the project is to reduce the number of reject shoes caused by using coated leathers with hidden flaws. In tanneries, leather hides with poor quality surfaces are processed by mechanically buffing off the natural surface and coating it to produce a uniform plain colour which obscures all blemishes. The practice is widely used and this material represents around 40% of all shoe leathers used in the EU. However, some deep flaws still exist. These break through to the surface and become visible when the leather is stretched over the last towards the end of the shoe manufacturing process. The affected shoes must be rejected or sold off as sub-standard through no fault of the shoe factory workers. The proposal is to develop a system that will map the position of such flaws prior to surface coating before they become hidden. This information can then be presented at the man/machine interface so that the flaws can be avoided. This will enable shoe manufacturers to reduce reject rates of footwear and provide improvements in quality and cutting process efficiency. The ability to avoid these hidden flaws will also improve morale of the workforce.

Funding Scheme

EAW - Exploratory awards


Sanders & Sanders Ltd.
Spencer Road
NN10 9AE Rushden
United Kingdom